Young Joseph Akin Samson, an OND graduate of mass communication from Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, Ogun State, has innovated a potentially viable product – a Yoruba version of the Scrabble game. This scrabble is intended for entertainment and educational purposes. Parents living in the Diaspora in particular who want to give their children the opportunity of learning the Yoruba language would find this most useful.
He has registered a business called Value Miners International, under which he has the right to invent games that would impact positively on the lives of people. Samson explains his inspiration saying, “I love scrabble, it stimulates thinking and word creativity.” He then adds, but what really inspired me was that about two years ago I organised a scrabble competition – the original English scrabble. The competitors were from MAPOLY and the Federal College of Education (FCE), Osiele, some students of University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB) also came on their own. The Ogun State Sport Board gave us referees and judges. Oluwalogbon Electronics, a private owned business, donated items like DVD players and pressing iron given as prizes. Olumide Martins, an individual, donated cash prizes for the winners.
It was a successful event, but I noticed that some of my friends in the neighbourhood that did not have the opportunity of going to school or furthering their education also wanted to participate in the games, but were incapacitated.
So, I developed the Yoruba scrabble and gave the boards to printers to print and the dice to artisans to make. I had to monitor the production to ensure the letters were inscribed in the right places. I chose the Green, White and Green colours.
They can be used in schools and homes to teach Yoruba in an entertaining way. Also, those who do not have the opportunity of going to school can at least learn the Yoruba alphabets and spellings. Yorubas living in the Diaspora would find it most useful. When a child spells a word like IGBA, it would give the parent or teacher the opportunity to explain the various meanings of that word and pronounce them accordingly. IGBA could mean calabash, it can also mean 200, it can be garden egg, it can also mean time or period, all depending on the intonations.
It is a fun way for a child to learn and the child would easily relate with the word. My vision is to revive the dying Yoruba culture.
Getting sponsorship for events or funds to mass produce the games is a challenge. I thank people like Oba Tejusoho, who donated to the cause at one time for the production of some boards and dice. I hope to get other private individuals and institutional investors that can help make the dream of teaching Yoruba language and other cultural attributes a reality, while they also make money.
I want to be a tool for a change in this world. It is better to invest in youths than repair old men. A lot of youths are going into yahoo yahoo and other fraudulent practices.
Young Joseph Akin Samson